Smart grid goes beyond 'watts happening' to spy on homeowners

The nation's smart electric grid, seen by many (including the FCC) as the third broadband pipe into residences, could become an unfettered spy network for public agencies and big corporations without some form of regulation. That's the gist of a smart grid privacy study conducted by Elias Quinn for the Colorado Public Utilities Commission.

Smart grid fundamentals include a smart meter attached to the home that gathers homeowner information such as how many people are in the house, when they get up, when they go to sleep and when they're not home, to more efficiently regulate utility usage. Law enforcement, government agencies and corporations like Microsoft and Google would love to get a piece of this information--and that's the problem.

"This is technology that can pierce the blinds," said Quinn. "Insufficient oversight could lead to an unprecedented invasion of consumer privacy."

And you thought the Internet was Big Brother.

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